Playing with Fire – the Swedish Prime Minister and the Muslim Brotherhood

Immigration from the Middle East and North Africa has struck fear into Europe’s Jewish community. Deep-rooted anti-Semitic beliefs in Islam threaten the Jewish minority, said Jackie Jakubowski in an op-ed in Swedish daily DN. Beliefs which in Sweden emanate from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian diaspora in Malmö.

In parliament, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of the Social Democratic party received a direct question concerning this development. The question was posed by MP Boriana Åberg of the Moderate Party. But the prime minister chose not to address it. Instead, he explained Arab anti-Semitism in Malmö with the completely unrelated fact that the Sweden Democrats had been voted into parliament. The prime minister’s response and level of outrage on the issue of anti-Semitism in Malmö must be questioned.

The anti-Semitism currently present in Malmö does not have the Nazi roots that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven wants to argue or seems to believe. It is a much older brand of anti-Semitism with roots in the Middle East; a brand that is steadily expanding today, assisted by the Muslim Brotherhood in Sweden.

In order to form an understanding of Mr. Löfven’s apologetic attitude, it is crucial to highlight the long and strong ties that this type of Islamism has to the Social Democratic party in general and the prime minister in particular. In 1999, the Broderskaparna movement within the party (presently called Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity) signed a cooperation agreement with the Muslim Council of Sweden to guarantee the Muslim diaspora a certain number of seats in parliament. In exchange, the party would receive “access” to this growing voter base – which was considered important, since the party had lost its natural base of members in the labor union LO when the automatic registration of union members as party members was discontinued in 1987.

Broderskaparna, or Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity, is one of five sub-organizations represented in the Social Democratic party’s most powerful body — the Executive Committee. The others are the Social Democratic Youth League (SSU), the Social Democratic student organization (S-studenter), the Social Democratic women’s organization (S-kvinnor) and S-HBTQ.

Another effect was that it would increase Broderskaparna’s influence on the mother party. In 2005, freelance journalist Salam Karam warned about the lax attitude of the then-incumbent Social Democratic government (then led by former PM Göran Persson) regarding the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing network in Sweden and the values associated with this organization. Nobody listened. In, 2006 the minister responsible for foreign aid, Carin Jämtin – also a member of the Faith and Solidarity movement – hired Peter Weiderud, chairman of the Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity, as a political adviser to the Foreign Ministry. Later, Jämtin was elected party secretary, the party’s second most powerful official.

In 2009, the Broderskap movement held a meeting at the mosque in Rosengård, Malmö. Adrian Kaba, chairman of the Rosengård chapter of the Social Democratic party, was of the opinion that one could separate one’s personal religious beliefs from politics.

“It’s about being politically aware of the what religious values you base your beliefs on. Here, we are united by policy regardless of religion – it’s about solidarity through politics rather than religion,” said Kaba.

In 2011, Broderskaperana chairman Peter Weiderud made apologetic remarks regarding Islamic homophobia and differing views on civil liberties by stating that Muslims are less advanced in their development. That it was perfectly fine to be a Social Democrat, a Muslim and a homophobe – thereby not honoring the inalienable rights of every human being. Is it a coincidence that in 2014, the Löfven administration appointed Peter Weiderud director of the Swedish Institute in Alexandria, Egypt – the country in which the Muslim Brotherhood was formed?

Former MP Nalin Pekgul is one of the few people who, like Salam Karam, sounded the alarm regarding the growing Islamization of urban areas in Sweden with high concentrations of immigrants, and the expanding reach of the Muslim Brotherhood. When Ms. Pekgul lost her reelection campaign for the chairperson of the Social Democratic women’s organization to Lena Sommestad in 2011, Sara Gunnerud acted as Ms. Sommestad’s campaign manager. Today, Ms. Gunnerud is on the nominating committee of the Social Democratic women’s organization but also serves as communications director for the study association Ibn Rushd, where she reports to Helena Hummasten and Omar Mustafa. She is also the editor of Ibn Rushd’s member publication, “Kupolen” (“the Dome”).

The Ibn Rushd study association claims to be the umbrella organization for all Muslim organizations in Sweden. The chairperson of Ibn Rushd, Helena Hummasten, has a son-in-law who is one of the few Swedish citizens convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorist crimes. He will be released from prison no earlier than December 2018.

Let us revisit Mr. Kaba, who presently enjoys the confidence of Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity as a member of its board. He returned to the narrative in 2014, when he claimed that the Islamic State terrorist group had been trained by the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad. This claim was informed by his political consciousness and values. Kaba later  said that he would be willing to retract the statement if it was proven that it was a conspiracy theory. It was a conditional denial – only if his statement could be refuted, he, as a a board member of Faith and Solidarity – would take back his anti-Semitic remarks.

In 2015, Ulf Bjereld, expert commentator for Swedish public television, quoted in almost all other Swedish media, and professor of political science at Gothenburg University, became the poster child of Ship to Gaza 2016 as he was nominated to head the organization. Swedish Ship to Gaza came to cooperate with the Turkish IHH. There have been efforts to classify the IHH as a designated terrorist organization both in the European Union and the United States, although these efforts so far have failed. Nevertheless, the organization has strong ties to Hamas and it has been considered a support arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood serves as the source of Hamas’s ideology, which includes the annihilation of the state of Israel. Hamas self-identifies as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Another key player in this context is Social Democratic MP Hillevi Larsson. It is no secret that Ms. Larsson, a member of the Faith and Solidarity movement, enjoys her strongest support among the Palestinian diaspora in Malmö, and that within this diaspora, there is significant support for Hamas. During 2015, Larsson participated in protests where anti-Semitic slogans of the Muslim Brotherhood brand was expressed. Larsson later distanced herself from those slogans – but only after the contents of the protesters’ messages were made clear to journalists, who began to ask uncomfortable questions. Similarly, Larsson cancelled a planned appearance in 2016 in the same context, but only after it became known that anti-Semitic representatives would attend and this information had reached the media.

Larsson, the Malmö chapter of the Social Democratic party and the Faith and Solidarity movement almost slavishly adhere to the media strategy applied by the Ibn Rushd sphere. It is only when it is revealed that anti-Semitic statements have been made or that known anti-Semites have been invited to attend that Larsson reacts. The Muslim diaspora in Malmö and the northeastern suburbs of Stockholm is a strong and important electoral base of the Social Democrats, and as such, it cannot be jeopardized. Better to take a chance, hope that the journalists sleep on it (which they usually do) and then retract retrospectively – if required.

Moreover, in the top echelon of the Social Democrats, there are still more ties, and even stronger such, which explain why Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has had such a hard time officially condemning the anti-Semitism originating from the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Berit Högman, of the party’s nominating committee, is both internally and externally considered the trailblazer for Omar Mustafa, today the principal of the Ibn Rushd study association. It is well-known inside the party that Högman and Löfven are long-time friends. But the ties do not end there: until recently, Stefan Löfven’s wife, Ulla Löfven, was employed by Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity. Previously, she was a close associate of Carin Jämtin.

This is just a small selection of associations and relationships, all of which sooner or later dead-end into the Muslim Brotherhood’s sphere of influence – remarkably often through Broderskaparna/Faith and Solidarity. This happens with such a frequency that coincidence must be ruled out as explanation.

Taking all of this into account, Mr. Löfven’s response to Ms. Åberg in parliament seems logical. His ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Social Democrats for Faith and Solidarity extend far back in time. Hence, it is highly unlikely that the prime minister would testify to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a fundamentally anti-Semitic organization with terrorist ties and that their main stronghold in Sweden is the city of Malmö and Stockholm’s northeastern suburbs.

All these ties and close relationships at different party levels have left their marks on the prime minister’s mind and his statements. 

Old friendships and the need to shore up votes weigh heavier than the protection of human rights in Sweden. Both of which serve as an example of anti-Semitism and radicalization long history and strong ties right into the heart of the current Swedish government. With all that said, it cannot be stated that the prime minister himself is an anti-Semite. Quite the opposite.

But as long as he doesn’t vehemently and publicly reject the anti-Semitism and terror against Christians and Jews represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, questions will remain as to which direction Mr. Löfven and the Social Democrats are heading.

As long as this doesn’t happen, the prime minister could very well keep playing the role of useful idiot for the Muslim Brotherhood and other unsavory forces. A role that one, especially as leader of a country, must avoid at all costs. If it indeed is the case that Mr. Löfven’s actions and inactions are orchestrated by other forces that he himself lack understanding or awareness of – then, his current positions and statements become understandable and forgivable.

But if, on the other hand, the prime minister is aware of his role and the game he is playing, these events must be understood in a different light.

 

Terrorism expert Dr. Magnus Norell has previously written about the Muslim Brotherhood at Ledarsidorna.se

Om författaren

Johan Westerholm
Johan Westerholm
Redaktör och ansvarig utgivare för Ledarsidorna.se. Fd underrättelseofficer med studier i politisk islam. Bott i Stockholm, Madrid, London och Boston men nu landat i Furusund.

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